The first results are expected today in Afghanistan’s Presidential poll – amid allegations of widespread fraud.
A result respected by the candidates and their supporters is essential for Afghanistan’s stability. And election watchdogs are promising to investigate all allegations of fraud. Meanwhile the United Nations has called on the candidates and voters to be patient while investigations are complete. Zekria Barakzai of the Electoral Complaints Commission said: “ We have received 225 complaints so far among which there are 35 with evidence that can impact on the result. But overall I don’t think the complaints will impact on the full results from 6,300 polling stations.” Incumbent President Hamid Karzai’s supporters have already claimed he has won by a landslide. His Finance Minister said last night Karzai’s position was safe. But this is strongly contested by his nearest rival Dr Abbdullah Abdullah who believes he could be the next president of Afghanistan. Though millions of Afghans went to the polls, turnout was dampened by Taliban threats in the days before. The UN meanwhile says the very fact that polling day went ahead at all was a real achievement for the people of Afghanistan.